America used to be a country where if you worked hard, caught a couple of breaks and persevered you could become anything you wanted! Sometime in the 1990’s however, things changed. We no longer kept score at little league games, everyone started getting trophies, and we became soft as a nation. Don’t get me wrong, we still have some bad asses running around fighting fires and nabbing crooks and protecting our nation, but we have far more fluffy, emotionally soft people in this country than perhaps ever in our history. It’s only getting worse. Many of that generation of low achievers are now parents and are charged with raising kids and running some of our institutions of learning, and they are affecting a new generation and holding them down in the name of equity. Check this out.
For years, two administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) have been withholding notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s families, most of them Asian, thus denying students the right to use those awards to boost their college admission prospects and earn scholarships.scholarships.
Mad yet? You should be. This country needs our best and brightest to lead us into the future. We don’t need the smartest, most gifted, and most ambitious being held down just because little Tanner that just doesn’t care enough or is as smart might get his little feelings hurt. We used to be a nation that propped up our brightest stars instead of trying to dim their light. Now we are content with mediocrity, and promote average. That does not bode well for our future as a world power. However, thanks to one parent the jig at this school is up.
Virginia's Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology (TJ) have been withholding National Merit awards from top students, most of them Asian, in name of Equity, denying students the right to use those awards to boost their college-admission prospects https://t.co/mUkBPXb7bM
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) December 24, 2022
An intrepid Thomas Jefferson parent, Shawna Yashar, a lawyer, uncovered the withholding of National Merit awards.
I learned — two years after the fact — that National Merit had recognized my son, a graduate of TJ’s Class of 2021, as a Commended Student in a September 10, 2020, letter that National Merit sent to Bonitatibus. But the principal, who lobbied that fall to nix the school’s merit-based admission test to increase “diversity,” never told us about it. Parents from earlier years told me that she also didn’t tell them about any Commended Student awards. One former student said he learned he had won the award through a random email from the school to a school district email account that students rarely check; the principal neither told his parents nor made a public announcement.
Mad now? Hundreds and perhaps thousands of students, many of them of mixed race descent like Shawna Yashers have been denied recognition and the weight those awards hold in terms of college entrance, all because this principle decided to hold them down. This is unconscionable, and likely illegal. The principal, Ann Bonitatibus, and director of student services (ironically) Brandon Kosatka were confronted by Yasher and admitted what they have been doing.
In a call with Yashar, Kosatka admitted that the decision to withhold the information from parents and inform the students in a low-key way was intentional. “We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements,” he told her, claiming that he and the principal didn’t want to “hurt” the feelings of students who didn’t get the award.
We are sprinting towards the bottom as a nation if we allow things like this to happen and go unpunished. A strong message needs to be sent that this just isn’t ok. If laws were indeed broken, these people need to be held responsible, and lawsuits should be filed. No child should be left behind, but the truly high achieving ones should not be penalized or held down just because they are smarter or more gifted. The world needs ditch diggers, but it also needs doctors, engineers, architects and scientists. We will never make it back to the top otherwise.
Featured image screen grab from embedded Tweet
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